Sitting up independently is a significant milestone that marks a pivotal moment in your baby’s physical development and opens up a whole new world of exploration and interaction.

Whether you’re a first-time parent navigating the milestones of infancy or you’re looking for some new tips and tricks to use with your latest addition, we’ve got you covered.

Let us help you guide your little one as they work their way up to a sitting position.

infant boy sitting with a purple ball

What Does It Take for Babies to Sit?

Let’s take a glimpse into the science behind how babies learn to sit. By understanding what’s required, it can be easier to engage in the right types of activities with your little one.

  • Muscle Strength and Control: Sitting requires babies to develop strength and control in their core muscles, neck, and back. During the early months, babies gradually develop upper body strength through activities such as tummy time, reaching for toys, and lifting their head. Head and neck control also allows them to support themselves in a seated position.
  • Balance and Coordination: Sitting also involves developing balance and coordination skills. Babies must learn to adjust their posture and shift their weight to maintain balance in a sitting position. This requires coordination between various muscle groups and sensory feedback from the vestibular system, which helps regulate balance and spatial orientation.

an infant girl crawling

  • Sensory Integration: Sensory integration refers to the brain’s ability to interpret and integrate information from different sensory modalities. Babies rely on sensory feedback from their muscles, joints, and inner ear (vestibular system) to adjust their body position and maintain balance while sitting. Sensory experiences such as touching, grasping, and exploring objects also contribute to the development of spatial and body awareness.
  • Development of Proprioception: Proprioception is the sense of body position and movement, and it plays a crucial role in learning to sit. Babies gradually develop proprioceptive awareness as they engage in activities that involve moving and positioning their bodies, such as reaching for objects, rolling, and transitioning between different positions. This proprioceptive feedback helps babies learn to adjust their posture and maintain a stable sitting position.

infant boy crawling with a material tunnel

  • Cognitive and Motor Skills: Lastly, learning to sit independently requires cognitive and motor skills. Babies must learn to plan and execute movements, anticipate changes in their environment, and problem-solve as they navigate the challenges of sitting upright. Attention, planning, and self-regulation are all essential to help a baby sit.

Simple Tips to Encourage Baby to Sit

Now that you know what skills your little one needs to learn to sit upright, let’s look at what you can do to help your baby learn, grow and sit.

Begin with Supported Sitting.

Babies sit more easily when they have a little support, so this will be necessary in the beginning.

You can gently pull your baby into a seated position on your lap or on a firm surface, such as a cushion or play mat. Use your hands to provide support around your baby’s hips and upper body while they explore the sensation of sitting upright.

Providing a stable base of support will help your baby feel more secure and balanced. Avoid holding your little one too tightly or forcing them into a sitting position, as this can hinder their natural development.

Bring In Some Tools

Place cushions or pillows around your baby to provide extra support and cushioning while they practice sitting. Positioning cushions behind and beside your baby can help prevent falls and create a safe environment for exploration.

You may also want to consider supportive aids such as a Boppy pillow or sit-me-up seat to help prop your baby up in a seated position. These supportive devices provide additional stability and can help your baby feel more secure. However, it’s important to use these tools in moderation and to follow safety guidelines.

 a baby sitting in front of a basket with purple balls

Encourage Tummy Time

Tummy time is essential for building the strength and muscle control needed for sitting. Encourage your baby to spend time on their tummy during supervised play, gradually increasing the duration as they grow stronger. By the time your little one is 3 months of age, they should be engaging in tummy time for at least an hour a day.

Use Toys and Props

Place toys or objects just out of your baby’s reach to motivate your baby to sit up and reach for them. Use colorful and engaging toys to capture your baby’s interest and encourage them to maintain a seated position while playing. Soft, lightweight toys that can be easily grasped are ideal for promoting reaching and grasping skills.

babies sit in a parent-child class at the little gym

Be Patient and Supportive

As your baby develops and learns to sit upright, it’s important to understand that each milestone is going to take some time – patience is key.
Be supportive as your baby learns this new skill, and avoid putting pressure on them to achieve milestones by a certain date. Celebrate your little one’s efforts and progress, and enjoy the journey of watching them grow and develop.

Join a Parent-Child Class at The Little Gym

If you’re keen to see your little one reach those important developmental milestones, but wouldn’t mind a bit of support, a parent-child class is the answer.

At The Little Gym, we are passionate about child development and have created several age-appropriate classes that are designed to help infants and toddlers navigate their developmental milestones in a fun and supportive environment.

A boy is crawling

Our Bugs classes are perfect for parents who want to encourage their babies to sit unsupported and take some time to bond with them.

With the guidance of our qualified instructors, your little one will get to engage in a range of activities that will help them build those all-important upper body muscles required for sitting.

All of our activities also take place in a supportive environment that is filled with color and music, exactly what babies need to have wonderful sensory experiences that benefit them on every level.

Find out more about our Bugs classes by finding The Little Gym near you.